“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”Dwight D. Eisenhower

Volks by Brian Roe
Volks by @MrBrianRoe

The Volk’s Electric Railway was built by Magnus Volk, the first section being completed in August 1883, and is the oldest operational electric railway in the world.
The line runs between terminal stations at Aquarium (a short distance from the Palace Pier) and Black Rock (at Black Rock, not far from Brighton Marina), with an intermediate station and depot at Halfway. ….More here

I am ashamed to say that I have only ever ridden the Volks Electric train once since 1987. Iv’e seen it many times, and I have walked along the track in winter seasons when the train is stored away for the winter.

I have taken many photos of the line disappearing into the distance over the years, none have ever been that great or good enough to work on as a composition piece. Until now….!

Volks-by Brian Roe in gold frame
The Volks by Brian Roe in gold frame

The Shot

It was really foggy one morning earlier this year. I was out and about early getting some shots of the seafront and the mist over the West Pier. I took a ride up Maderia Drive to check out what the fog was doing up there, that’s when I noticed the statue of Steve Ovett, the olympic gold medalist runner from the 1980’s. There was a bit of mist at the base of the statue, I walked over and saw the Folks rail track and could see that in the distance, as the track disappeared into a single point perspective, the fog was obscuring the vista. It looked great, I had to snap it, so got down on to the track (through the proper gateway of course). And got the camera as low as I could and snapped this photo here.

The Unfortunate Mist

Volks-by Brian Roe in brick wall frame
The Volks by Brian Roe in black frame

Sadly, the mist and fog didn’t turn out that well, but the perspective and clarity did.
I love doing train track shots! There is something of a mystery, a long journey and an unknown destination that fascinates me. IV’e taken railroad track photos all of the place, from the jungle in Northern to Sri Lanka, Bangkok Sukhumvit line in. Sweeden, France, and loads more, not are that great, I did them for me and not for publications.

But The Folks, although just one track that goes up and down the seafront in Brighton, has the same affect on the journey man in me.

The Look & Feel

I have a technique in photoshop that the seasoned pro’s are trying to get me to reveal? Its my own method of creating atmospheric fog and eerie mist effects. Its taken my over two decades to get this one right, so, I’m not about to reveal anything too soon. I may make a youtube tutorial about it sometime.

There are multiple ways of creating mist and fog? There are plugging, brushes, Luminar has a filter. But for me, I stick to the old school ways of gradient layers, masks and opacity variations. It takes a long time to achieve the right look and feel, but once you have, nothing else comes close.

As with ‘The Folks’, I had (like all my work) a finished composition look and feel in mind. I feel like I got what I wanted with ‘The Folks’ …and may she keep on going for another 100 years.


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Printed on Hahnemühle Printing Paper

Hahnemühle’s authentic Fine Art paper is regarded as top of the line. It is often used for exhibitions and limited-edition art prints. All Hahnemühle papers have been certified by independent institutes to be highly resistant to ageing and are vegan, in order to meet the highest requirements.

This print comes in three sizes & respective prices starting from £50.
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